Dennis Pitre from Tignish Shore is a fiddler with the West Prince style of playing. As his accompanist, Vincent Doucette says: "He is the best fiddler this end of the island from Egmont Bay to the North Cape". He started fiddling when he was 12 years old and bought his first fiddle for $20 with money that he earned by collecting bottles. For years he played in a band for weekly dances at the Tignish Fire Hall. For more information on Dennis Pitre, including stories, photos, audio and video clips, go to Bowing Down Home
Filtering by Category: Prince Edward Island
Toussaint Arsenault was a Prince County fiddler who grew up in Egmont Bay but later moved to Summerside. His fiddle style was influenced by the Evangeline fiddlers such as Joseph Bibienne Arsenault and Joseph's daughter Zélie-Anne. He was friends with the fiddling barber Ervan Sonier and they would often hang out in the barbershop after hours playing tunes. They also performed together and after Toussaint suffered a stroke, he relied on Ervan to help him remember the tunes. There are some great photos and recordings of Ervan and Toussaint on the Bowing Down Home website.
Ervan Sonier had a barber shop in eastern Prince county and often would hang out and play tunes with his friend Toussaint Arsenault. They swapped tunes and often performed together fro public events. Ervan also composed tunes, including Seaweed Reel and Mug and Brush Reel. From more information, including photos, recordings, and oral histories, go to Bowing Down Home.
Delphine Arsenault, from Abrams Village PEI, was one of the talented daughters of Joseph Arsenault (Jos Bibienne). She played fiddle, harmonica, and pump organ and was also an accomplished singer and step dancer, along with her sister Zélie-Anne. For more information on Delphine, along with some great photos and recordings from folklorist Georges Arsenault, go to Bowing Down Home
Jaddus Gallant from Cap-Egmont was a fisherman and fiddler. He was often accompanied by his wife Béatrice on the pump organ. A more extensive bio, as well as photos and recordings that were collected by folklorist Georges Arsenault can be found on the excellent website devoted to Prince Edward Island fiddlers: Bowing Down Home
Albin Arsenault was born and lived his whole life in Cap-Egmont, PEI. He worked as a car mechanic and was a well-known and respected fiddler who played for weddings and parties. For photos and recordings that were collected by folklorist Georges Arsenault, go to Bowing Down Home
Anastasia DesRoches grew up in an Acadian family and started off as a dancer which led to fiddling which she took up at age 15. She started off playing the Scottish style, taking lessons from Kim Vincent and after taking studying music theory at a university she started transcribing tunes "for fun". Lucky for us, she decided to start collecting tunes from PEI fiddlers which let to a collection of field recordings now available at the Acadian museum in Miscouche as well as a tune book of her transcriptions of compositions from Acadian fiddlers. The book is called "Les Faiseux de Tounes - the Tunesmiths" and is available through the Fédération Culturelle de l'Île du Prince Edouard". It includes 300 compositions as well as biographies of the fiddlers and stories. The book as well as other transcriptions is available through her website at: http://anastasiadesroches.com
Anastasia has been highly active in fiddling on Prince Edward Island and she was one of the fiddlers, along with Louise Arsenault on Eddy Arsenault's recording
Anastasia has been highly active in fiddling on Prince Edward Island and she was one of the fiddlers, along with Louise Arsenault on Eddy Arsenault's famous recording Party Acadien
Peter Arsenault comes from a long line of Acadien fiddlers in the Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island. He started playing fiddle when he was 28 years old and followed in the footsteps of his father, the legendary Eddy Arsenault. As Peter says, “I kind of picked up the old style from dad. Everything is evolving all the time, so if you don’t kind of carry that old stuff and try to hand it to the next generation, it’ll go away with the old timers.”
Finally found out what "mocoque" means, thanks to the Facebook page of Le Français Acadien. It's an aboriginal term that refers to a swampy land where wild cranberries and blueberries grow.
Le mot "mocoque" est emprunté de l'amérindien et désigne un "terrain marécageux propice à la croissance des airelles», «fruit de l'airelle (bleuets et canneberges).
For more information on Peter Arsenault, including photos and recordings, go to Bowing Down Home, a great website devoted to Prince Edward Island fiddlers.
Louise Arsenault from Mont Carmel Prince Edward Island started playing fiddle at age 7, sneaking her father's fiddle out of its case. She grew up surrounded by music with childhood friends Helen and Albert Arsenault, the children of renowned PEI fiddler Eddy Arsenault. There were kitchen parties and visiting musicians. Her father, Alyre Gallant, was a fiddler known for his older, more rhythmic style of fiddling. "I also grew up in a musical family," she explains, "My father played the fiddle and my mother played the pump organ. I started playing fiddle when I was seven. I've learned a lot of tunes from my dad. He used to take me to all the music contests when I was growing up."
She can be heard on the Party Acadien cd along with Eddy Arsenault and Anastasia Desroches and later joined the group Barachois, devolving later into Gadelle.
Edward à Polycarpe Arsenault was born in St. Chrysostome, Prince Edward Island. This is the French-speaking Evangeline region of the Island. Edward started playing guitar and harmonica in his teens and only took up the fiddle in his thirties, urged on by his wife. There was always music around: his mother played mouth organ and pump organ and his neighbor, Eddy Arsenault played fiddle. For ten years, Edward played secretly in his home and it was only later that he started playing for kitchen parties (parties de cuisine) in the maisons de rassemblement (gathering houses). Edward played with a distinctive stutter or hiccup in his bow, a sort of dropping of the weak notes and syncopation that gave the music a very driving and exciting rhythm for dancing.
Here are some recordings of Edward Arsenault that his sister, Marie Livingstone, graciously sent us:
Reel des Acadiens was made famous played by Eddy Arsenault on the Party Acadien CD. Edward was the composer and Marie says that he couldn't show up for the recording because he was sick, so his neighbor, Eddy Arsenault played it.
This tune refers to Edward's family lineage: Edward à Polycarpe à Phylimon à Polycarpe à Joe à Placide.
Reel des Mocoque 🎼
Named after another branch of Edward's family
A mémé is a granny so the title would read: Swingin' Granny.